06 Jun 2020 Admin

20 of the Most Romantic Scottish Wedding Traditions 2020

Your Ultimate Guide to Scottish Wedding Traditions


Are you looking forward to planning a traditional Scottish wedding? Well then you'll definitely need to incorporate some of the Scottish wedding traditions that have came about over the years; from lucky charms, ceremony and dances and even traditional Scottish wedding gifts. Scotland is steeped in history, romanticism and a sense of true national pride so many brides and grooms are choosing to add a Caledonian touch to their big day - whether they have links to Scotland or not.  And who can blame them - from the hauntingly beautiful music, to the dramatic highland dress and a real sense of community celebration, who wouldn't want to have these elements at their big day?

Intrigued?  So let's have a look at 20 of the most quirky Scottish wedding traditions. These are good luck rituals and romantic customs you can incorporate into your own Scottish ceremony.


Scottish Wedding Traditions - Music 


  • When it comes to traditional Scottish wedding music, the bagpipes are the place to start. They keep the guests entertained as they are arriving, setting the scene for the ceremony; they pipe the bride in to the venue and the newlyweds out; and pipe the couple to the top table when it's time for the wedding reception.  Bagpipes are a wee bit like marmite - you either love them or hate them - but it is undeniable that they add an unforgettable atmosphere to your nuptials.  Two most popular Scottish wedding Bride entrance songs are Highland Cathedral and Dark Isle and there is a whole host of music to get you into the spirit of things - both famous (think Braveheart) and more obscure.  Not only that, but bagpipes are guaranteed to make the day feel more regal - for the last 175 years, the UK monarch's alarm clock has been the sound of the royal piper, heralding in the morning as well as well as piping guests in and out of state banquets.  How better to feel like a princess on your big day?

Scottish Wedding Traditions - Romantic 

  • The Speerin is quite a challenging tradition, where the groom must go through a series of tasks and trials to impress their would-be father-in-law before gaining his approval.
  • Feet Washing; In the region of Fife, it is tradition to conduct a feet-washing ritual, whereby the bride sits on a stool while an older, married woman washes and dries her feet.
  • The Oathing Stone - An oath given by a stone or water was said to make the wedding ceremony more binding. Over time, this tradition evolved into the bride and groom placing their hands together on a stone as they spoke their vows

Scottish Wedding Traditions - Dances

  • The Lang Reel is a traditional dance which happens in the fishing communities in the north east of Scotland. The dance sees villagers and the wedding party begin dancing from the harbour and continue through the village, with each couple leaving the reel when they pass their home. This continues until the only couple left are the bride and groom who have the last dance.
  • The Traditional Grand March is often the first dance to take place at a wedding reception. It begins with the bride and groom marching to the sound of bagpipes or a live band. The maid of honour (or chief bridesmaid) and the best man join in, followed by both sets of in-laws, and finally the guests!

Scottish Wedding Traditions - Gifts

  • The 'wedding sark' is the traditional name given to the shirt worn by the groom which is gifted by the bride. The groom pays for the wedding dress in return.
  • Clocks are traditionally given to the happy couple by the best man in the north east while the maid of honour gives them a tea set.
  • A luckenbooth is a brooch given as a love token by a gentleman to his betrothed. They are usually made of silver and engraved with two hearts combined.

Scottish Wedding Traditions - Ceremony 

  • Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is where couples have been coming to tie the knot since 1754. Are you feeling rebellious? Follow in the footsteps of the countless runaway lovers who, lured by Scotland’s lenient marriage laws, eloped to the sleepy town of Gretna Green on the Anglo-Scots border. Say your vows over the original anvil used by the ‘Blacksmith Priest’ when presiding over clandestine unions.
  • The Wedding Walk is the formal march taken by the wedding party to the church. Preceded by a piper or fiddler, the bridegroom leads the maid of honour while the bride walks behind with the best man. After the ceremony, the newlyweds leave the church followed by the best man escorted by the maid of honour. To secure good luck it was traditionally thought that the wedding procession should cross running water twice.
  • A Penny Wedding is an ideal solution for those after a traditional yet budget-friendly wedding. Guests bring their own food and drinks to the reception allowing the couple to splurge on the wedding cake.
  • The Scottish Quaich or ‘Loving Cup’ is a two-handled silver bowl which is topped up with whisky, usually by the bride, and then passed around for the wedding party to sip once the legal proceedings have been concluded.

Scottish Wedding Traditions - Lucky Owens

  • Right foot forward is the correct procedure a bride should follow when exiting her house on her way to the wedding.
  • A sixpence in the bride's shoe has long been a tradition in Aberdeenshire and Angus. Feel free to include this Scottish wedding tradition at your wedding if you can or even know what a sixpence is! 
  • A sprig of white heather hidden in the bride's bouquet is a popular good luck token in the Scottish Borders.
  • The ‘wedding scramble’ is traditional in most parts of Scotland. As the bride steps into the car, her father throws a handful of coins for the children to collect. Believed to bring about financial good fortune, it also takes place in weddings in Ayrshire where it is known as a 'warsel'.

Scottish Wedding Traditions - New & Old 

  • In Scotland, wedding cakes tend to follow tradition. This means that truly Scottish wedding cakes feature two tiers and are most commonly a brandy-flavoured fruit cake.According to legend, this cake should be baked at the time of the couple’s engagement. However, only the bottom layer of the cake is supposed to be enjoyed at the wedding. The upper tier should be saved and only eaten as a celebration of the couple’s first child.
  • The còrdadh In Gaelic-speaking communities, a còrdadh (agreement) would be made between the bride and groom a few weeks before the wedding. This would take place in the house of the bride’s father. This is one of the oldest Scottish wedding traditions. 

  • Out final Scottish wedding traditions is a rather unusual Scottish wedding tradition, this was popular during ancient times and is similar to the pinning of the tartan.The groom would present his bride with his family’s sword during the ceremony and the sword would then be passed down to the couple’s first son. Alternatively, the bride’s family would present the groom with their family sword, and both these rituals symbolise acceptance into the family and the obligation of the groom to protect his wife.

Wedding Traditions in Scotland 

Scottish weddings have evolved and adapted over the centuries to suit changing times and customs however, many remain today, and they encompass more than simply wearing a kilt.

We hoped you enjoyed going back through the ages to uncover the most famous (and lesser known) Scottish wedding traditions, so you can incorporate them into your big day.